So I’ve been taking birth control (Alesse 28) since November, and the main reason is to control cramps. The nurse said they would lessen the intensity of my periods and my cramps. However my periods/cramps are the same, still painful.

So I read about this thing called stacking, where you skip the placebo pills and go right to the next pack. 98% of the research I’ve googled came up with this result: skipping your periods is SAFE and a lot of woman/girls do it.

I tried it recently, and skipped my period. It worked, and I had tiny breakthrough bleeding and a little cramping but overall it’s way better than having a period. Now I told my mom this, and she freaked out. She said how my hormones are all screwed up now, my mood swings are way worse, I’m getting depressed, etc etc. She also seems to believe, along with my dad, that skipping my period is not safe and is harming my body. I tried to tell them that it’s perfectly normal and mood swings could probably just be a side effect, who cares?

My question is: is it really okay to do this? Do any of you skip periods? I’m going to see the nurse on Monday to talk to her about it and ask about depression as a side effect, but mostly the stacking thing. (Just for some extra info, I’m 17)

Thanks 🙂

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17 Responses to Skipping Periods on Birth Control

  1. Egneeva says:

    There are birth control pills out there that are made to specifically skip your period for those who want to.

    You can tell your parents that a “period” on the pill is not a period at all, it’s a withdrawal bleed from skipping that week of pills. There is absolutely no reason to have a natural period at all.

  2. IllNew says:

    I’ve been skipping my period for about 6or 8 years now due to endometriosis. I’m 28 and was able to have a healthy pregnancy and no issues whatsoever with stacking. No need for a period 🙂

  3. SseNope says:

    All the pill is doing is keeping the hormone levels consistent. There have been peer-reviewed studies showing that skipping your period is fine.

    When I got my Mirena, my mom flipped out. First she got it confused with Paragard and tried to tell me my cramps would be worse and it’s not good for someone who had bad periods at 16 (even though I was 28 and had much nicer periods now). Then she googled for horror stories and sent them to me, then she gave up on medical reason and told me because Bayer Pharmaceuticals had a hand in the medical atrocities of the Holocaust, anything they make is tainted by Nazis. I am not even kidding.

    So I just ignored her, kept being happy with my Mirena, and once sent her an article pointing out that the kind of copper IUD she had in the 70s had also been subject to great scandal and lawsuits, just like the Dalkon Shield. She’s calmer now, and stays out of my medical business.

    I know you’re 17 and thus not a legal adult, so you can’t expect her to reasonably respect your privacy just yet. But you can continue to become educated, and be calm and reasonable when discussing things with her. You are probably learning which topics to avoid. 😉

    Some people can’t handle skipping periods, because their body spots and gives PMS symptoms anyway. But I’m prone to PMS crankiness, if not depression, and I never experienced the mood-altering aspects of PMS from skipping my period. Yes, if I skipped more than one period, the next one I had was rather awful (clots and extra cramping). When I was on the nuvaring, I was able to have 6 periods a year instead of 12, and they were actually a lot easier than my pre-HBC period.

    If skipping your period is really awful for the body, why are there methods of birth control like Depo, Mirena and Implanon that all but eliminate your period? (Wait, don’t ask her that. If she’s anything like my mom, she’ll go off about medical conspiracies and how it’s not actually okay for you, even if the FDA says so.)

  4. SseNope says:

    Huh. I thought there was substantial evidence in the literature, but Google Scholar doesn’t have a lot. (I also don’t have access to half of these articles that come up in the search, so I know I’m missing details.)

    Essay from the Lancet about the socio aspects of skipping periods, not a whole lot on the medical aspects:PDF LINK
    Big meta-analysis (gather all findings from previous research, compare) of all continued-use HBC studies: webpage
    This book looks interesting and useful, but there’s only the first page on preview: Scripting the Body: Pharmaceuticals and the (Re)making of Menstruation
    2010 Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine: The main side effect from skipping a period is breakthrough bleeding. (I wish I had access to the full version. Anyone who does, can you summarize for the OP?)

    One thing I did find in the literature is that skipping periods is extremely common for patients who have medical reasons to avoid their period: migraines, seizures, endometriosis, etc. It seems that the benefits there greatly outweigh any costs that are experienced. (Alas, I can’t figure out the range of side effects, because those aren’t usually mentioned in the abstacts.)

  5. Anyne says:

    So clotting isn’t normal? I always have clots… I’ve been on BC since 17, too, and I’m pretty sure I had clotting before then, but that was years ago so I don’t really remember………

  6. SseNope says:

    Clotting’s in the range of normal, and certain factors might make you clot more some times over others. For me, I mostly only clot when I’m skipping periods on combined hbc, thus I called it a side effect of the stacking. For me.

  7. Anyne says:

    Ahhh okay… Thanks :).

  8. SseNa says:

    Stacking is fine. I do it all the time. Usually I don’t skip more than 1 or 2 in a row, simply because the more I skip my placebo pills, the more pill packs I will need, spending more money. I personally find my mood stays more stable when I stack (stable consistent hormones). The drop in hormones from my placebo week usually triggers some massive mood swings for me. My mother also freaked out the first time I mentioned it to her, except I mentioned it at say, 18 after doing it for 2 or so years, so I had the evidence of me being perfectly fine. I should also mention I am on the same pill as you, I have been for over 4 years now, and I stack every now and again with no real ill effects.

  9. Ytune says:

    As previously stated, there is no medical need to have a period on the pill because you aren’t ovulating. It is possible that you could have worsened mood swings, but there are also lo-dose birth controls if YOU feel it is getting out of control. You’re 17, and I remember being sassy as a 17 year old so you’re mom may be blaming normal teenage hormones/mood swings with that. I will say this much, I would take my placebo’s once every 3 months or so. That way you do get a break in the hormones 4 times a year. I’m sure that you don’t “have” to do that, just something I would personally do.

    I remember accidentally stacking my BC when I was like 18 and I didn’t have a period for 6 months because if I didn’t start within the first 2 days of placebo’s I would just start my next pack. I had a pretty big freak out and my mood swings were so bad that I started to notice.

    Good luck with convincing your parents. You may need an actual doctor to talk to them and back you up.

  10. EttSuper says:

    I take Lybrel, which is a pill that doesn’t even have any placebo pills, so it’s often referred to as the “no-period pill.” It’s safe to skip your placebo, and I haven’t had a period in over a year. 🙂

  11. Ttefornia says:

    It would really surprise me if you started getting mood swings as side effects when you began stacking, if you hadn’t had any similar effects just from taking those hormones full stop – pretty much every form of HBC I’ve come across risks causing depression/moodiness in up to 10% of users, but it sounds like that wasn’t something you’re experiencing.

    Honestly, it sounds to me like your mother is worrying entirely unnecessarily. (I’m someone who’s skipped periods regularly because I have endometriosis, so have very painful periods.) If you feel like it’s working for you, then great!

  12. Aryeva says:

    Yes, it’s fine to do it.

    My body won’t let me skip more than one withdrawal bleed in a row though. I start spotting if I try two and I usually get a normal for birth control heavy day for me sometime in the second period I try to skip. Picky, picky uterus.

    The cost of buying a pack every three weeks versus every four can be pretty expensive over time.

  13. Anyne says:

    I had that problem too until my doctor put me on marvelon. I actually just went 6 months without a period and when I did stop for a week it was lighter and shorter than before when I just did my 2 months… I think it has to do with the amount of hormones in the pill.

  14. Anyne says:

    You’ll have to let me know what your doctor says about stacking and depression. I’m really curious myself as I have been doing it for years. No real issues. Hell with my strong hormone pill my periods are lighter and shorter even with taking them for 6 months at a time… But I really wanna know as I do suffer from depression…

    Everyone above has been mentioning placebo pills… And I have that with my current pill… But it’s like they don’t know there are just 21 days and you skip a week, no placebo… I dunno… It’s just weird to me that no one here seems to know that lol… Sometimes I think my doc put me on 28 day with a week placebo because she knows I’m stacking (though I haven’t told her) and is hoping that I’m too dumb to know that I can ignore the placebo pills and just start a new pack lol…

  15. SseNope says:

    I don’t understand your second paragraph. Are you saying that nobody here on VP knows that placebos are totally skippable? (The placebos are there in case you need to take a pill every day in order to stay in the habit. I know I’d be one of those people if I weren’t on a LARC like Mirena.) I think people are actually talking about placebos because it’s a quick way to say “the non-active pills/your withdrawal week”.

    What brand of birth control pills are you on? That’s cool that there’s a brand that’s 28-on, because people who want to stack often have trouble convincing pharmacists or insurance companies to let them buy a pack early.

    There’s a post earlier this week or weekend asking how HBC helps with PMDD. You might find your answers there.

  16. Anyne says:

    the 28 day-ers I take are ones with the 1-week placebo pills that everyone is talking about. Day 22-28 is sugar pills. And all anyone on here mentions is placebo’s and not the having skip 1 week after day 21

  17. 29dWoman says:

    Well…for the most part, it’s safe. There is *some* concern, however.

    http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather_corinna/2010/04/01/a_very_important_note_on_menstrual_suppression

    There is yet no available data concerning the long term effects of menstrual suppression on a woman’s overall health, at any age.

    Not to be fearmongering, but informed decisons are important 🙂

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